Deputy Larry McKinnon is going to be on TV some day – or at least Youtube.

McKinnon and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office now use the popular video streaming site as a vehicle  to get information out to the ”wolves.”

“I need to make the wolves happy,” said McKinnon, referring to the media.

Not only does McKinnon utilize Youtube for a quick connection, he also blasts them with Media Alert of Tampa.  Whenever the sheriff’s office sends out a press release, members of the media on the mailing list receive frequent updates on the day’s top stories.

He knows that it’s his job to inform the public, but he’s also concerned about the public’s perception of his office.

“My job is to protect the image of the agency,” said McKinnon.

McKinnon also touched on the 119 statute.  The statute is the general state policy on public records.  Here, one finds all the exceptions to the public records rules.

Florida is highly transparent when it comes to government.  In fact, Florida is a leading state in the provision of information to the public.

And, the HCSO now keeps arrest records on the internet for life.  In the past, the agency pulled these records after five years.

McKinnon handed out several packets of information which served as examples of the documents journalists and the media receive when request public records.  He also pointed out that the department recently went electronic, referring to the amount of public records now only available in digital format.

The HCSO’s use of an all-digital system has saved the department over 40 thousand dollars a month.

Cristal Bermudez, media relations for the HCSO, also noted that the agency will become its own news agency.  It sounds like a great idea for the free-flow of information, but has a bitter taste.

Would society really want news created by the police department though?

It would certainly pose a threat to unbiased news.

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